Dolphin v. Shark: which type of attorney is better for your case?

Good Morning.  I still can say it’s good morning even though it’s almost noon time.  I woke up early this morning and went to Torrance courthouse for a hearing. On the way back to my office, I thought about a video that I put out last month where I talked about how your attorney’s character count.

Not only does your attorney’s character count, but also your attorney’s personality, the way that they handle your matter, and how they litigate a case. All of these shape the landscape of your case; Meaning, they can affect whether or not your case is going to find resolution, whether or not your case is going to be litigated efficiently as efficient as possible, and/or whether or not your case is going to be settled within a reasonable time.

I currently have two partnership dispute cases that are in the extreme. They’re both dealing with dispute between partnerships that have a significant amount of real estate holdings.  In one case, I filed on behalf of my client against the other partner and received a call from the other attorney. The first thing that came out of his mouth was, “Hey, what does your client want?”. I told him exactly what I’m expecting and what my client wants in terms of resolving this issue. The other side’s attorney listened and we worked out a resolution plan.

Right now we are in the process of selecting an appraiser to appraise the property because the first step is to know exactly the value of the partnership property. We need to figure out whether it’ll be bought out or go on the market. Obviously it will take some time for the appraisal to be done and verified. There seems to be enough trust between attorneys, which leads me to believe that this case is going to be resolved efficiently without the client spending a lot of money on attorney’s fees and court costs.

On the other hand, I have a case in which I am representing the defendant.  The other partner in the partnership sued my client and filed the lawsuit in downtown L.A. We told the court that there’s an arbitration clause in the partnership agreement and that we wanted to go into arbitration. The automatic response of the other attorney is no, even though they also benefit from going to arbitration. Regardless, we filed a motion to compel arbitration and to stay the case. The court agreed with us and stayed the case until the ruling on our motion to compel arbitration.

What did the other attorney do?  She went to Torrance courthouse and filed another case, claiming the cases are not related or different.  We are still dealing with the same partnership and the same property so in my perspective, it’s related.  We went to the Torrance courthouse and talked with a judge, who agreed with us that the cases are related. He didn’t want to make any ruling until the judge in the downtown L.A. made some determination whether or not the cases are going to be consolidated. That’s the reason why I was in Torrance this morning.

The case got continued for a third time and it’s not something that I’m proud of.  I don’t call my client and say, “You know what, I spent 3-4 hours to go to a hearing, the matter got continued and I need to go back there again.  It’s not a situation that brings value to the client, but in this situation I am not a moving party. I’m not a plaintiff attorney. I have no control of the proceeding. In this case I am reacting to the motion filed by the opponent on the other side. The strategy of this attorney seems to be just attack, attack, attack.

Every attorney has this rule book called California Code of Civil Procedure that we all need to abide by when litigating the case. Even though an attorney can attack, attack, attack, the defense attorney always has some way to tame the plaintiff’s attorney when the attacks become unreasonable. There’s a way we can tame the sharks, for a lack of better words. I expect this case is going to be fairly expensive and even unnecessarily expensive. I understand that all litigation cases are expensive, but I believe it is my job to litigate a matter as efficiently as possible. In this case and the way it’s been going, it will be unnecessarily expensive no matter how efficient I try to be, due to the actions of the plaintiff’s attorney.

The take away here is that your attorney greatly influences the landscape of your case and can ultimately determine whether or not your case is going to be resolved efficiently in terms of attorney costs, court fees, and time. Hopefully you’ll keep these in mind when you’re looking for an attorney to represent you in your legal endeavors.  Until next time, I’ll talk to you later.